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The 3 Basic Functions of Technology in Today’s Digital Workspace

It’s so much #morethanprint.

Summary

Protect, manage or connect people and applications


Time: 7 minute read


In business, we invest in technology to improve company performance and our work life, not because it’s cool or fun. (Like our personal tech purchases, right?) Any business technology spend aims to boost productivity, simplify tasks, increase efficiency, and cut costs – in short, make us more profitable.

 

There may be other reasons, but at a high level, those goals represent our reason for investing in technologies.


The technology itself, however, performs three basic functions:

  • Protects your data
  • Helps you manage opportunity
  • Connects your employees, data, and customers
We call this “Protect. Manage. Connect.

For the best return on investment (ROI), every technology you use will support at least one of these functions, ideally contributing to an end-to-end solution. Small and medium-sized businesses benefit most, as streamlining the Protect Manage Connect approach positions them to compete with even the biggest enterprises.

Let’s take a closer look at each function, potential pitfalls to watch out for, and ideas on how each one can help your business achieve its goals.

working on computer

Protect

Today, every business, no matter its size, must take steps to protect its documents and data.

 

At first, you might think, “Cybercriminals go after the big enterprises, who would want to access my network or steal my data?”


In our interconnected world, the simple answer is everyone. Take, for example, this Verizon executive brief that found 43% of data breaches involved small-to-mid-size businesses (SMBs).1

Data breaches only sometimes involve malicious intent though. Upwards of 30% of all breaches come from within your own organization. The cause? Inadequate or nonexistent protocols that result in weak passwords, clicks on links in one of those phishing emails, and lost documents or devices. Human error remains the biggest threat to your data.

Fortunately, you don’t need an enterprise-sized IT budget to implement effective solutions. A little proactive planning can go a long way to create a solid foundation for protection against data loss. For a successful plan, you need to include these three basic approaches: educate, monitor and prevent.

 

1. Educate. 
Train your team on their security responsibilities. Training begins on every employees’ first day and continues on a regular schedule. You want to cover all potential points of entry in the flow of your documents and data such as:

  • How to spot phishing emails
  • How to ensure devices and applications are secured
  • The importance of strong passwords
  • What to do if you suspect a data breach

2. Monitor. 
You need to know who has access and what is done with your data and documents. Implement tools and processes to control who sees sensitive information, tracks activity with automated reporting, and secures your information. 
For example, converting paper documents to digital via scanning with immediate, automated storage in a secured cloud application bypasses the many points where accidental breaches can occur. 

 

3. Prevent.
Start with simple steps to prevent unauthorized access to documents and data. Strong passwords are one way to do this. Another step you can take would be to protect confidential documents and securely manage print jobs with password-controlled printing.
For many small and medium-sized businesses, this can add extra tasks that employees simply don’t have the time to do, creating a need to add staff. Finding a technology partner with expertise in security and business processes can give you the expertise needed to develop the best solution, at less than the cost of adding staff.

 

Manage

Every day, your business has opportunities. 

  • You have the opportunity to grow through sales. 
  • You have the opportunity to resolve your customer’s problems and maintain a happy customer base. 
  • Internally, you have the opportunity to simplify your and your workplace to create a fulfilling work environment built on consistent success.

To capitalize on these opportunities, you need access to information for smart decision-making at the time you need it. Common impediments that disrupt opportunity include:


Paper-bound data. Data stored only on paper limits its availability, i.e.., you can’t share a single hard copy document with a team member when it’s sitting on your desk as you’re working in your home office.


Time lost getting information. Nothing burns time quite as much as searching for a misplaced paper document. Sending documents via intra or interoffice envelopes also makes your information unavailable and inaccessible, in addition to creating potential security gaps.


As you wait for a team member to scan and send or upload a document, your prospects and customers grow impatient. Irritation fostered by waiting can disrupt an otherwise smooth sales opportunity or aggravate a customer service issue. 

 

Technology that holds you back. We all know how fast technology continues to evolve. You may be accustomed to the added steps or slow processing, but your customers and prospects expect today’s speed. 


For example, your best-in-class multifunction printer three years ago still requires multi-step efforts rather than instant one-touch distribution– or worse, doesn’t even offer integration with the tools and platforms that drive your business.


Extra steps, out-of-date technology, and tools and devices that haven’t scaled to meet your evolving needs can all limit your ability to capitalize on the opportunity before you.

 

Types of solutions that help you manage opportunities


Today’s technology makes it possible for small and medium-sized businesses to work like – and compete with – an enterprise. Hardware, software, and cloud solutions enable you to maximize opportunities by:

  • Always having the data you need, when you need it, even if it started out on paper
  • Enhancing productivity with automated, customized workflows
  • Managing data to prevent loss with digitized documents, rights access, backups, and disaster recovery solutions
  • Meeting customer expectations for sales growth and happy customers

You may find your biggest challenge doesn’t lie in finding technology to help you manage your opportunities. Instead, it may be all the options you have, plus the resources needed for setup, administration, and maintenance. Depending on your situation, you might find that a technology partner offers the best solution to create the seamless integrations you need to capitalize on each and every opportunity.

 
 

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Connect

To collaborate and create, your teams need to connect and communicate regularly. Whether you have mobile employees, work remotely, or some combination in between, you need systems that bring everyone together.

Interconnectivity supports knowledge-sharing, ensures productivity, and manages remote teams. At the same time, you need to mitigate risk. The best solutions for interconnectivity: 
 
business woman on laptop
  • Empower workflows. Define and simplify workflows to make them desirable and encourage adoption using integrated tools and applications. Scan-to-cloud workflow solutions, for example, automatically route documents to pre-configured destinations.
  • Make information easier to access. Connected systems, especially centralized cloud applications, make it easy for you and your team to access your data and documents from anywhere, at any time, while retaining control and security via access rights.
  • Enable communication. Connect your systems and you’ll connect your people whether it’s through a software-as-a-service application like Office 365®, email, VoIP phone, Google Docs™, presentation and meeting tools, or any of the host of collaboration tools available on the market today.  

If you find communication breakdowns occur, you may need to do a workflow analysis. Look for irregularities like unsanctioned or nonstandard solutions, noncompatible tools, or unmanaged processes. Any of these can disrupt communication between your team and you and your customers.

 

And isn’t that the challenge of our new, digital workplace? Balancing access to information with secured, carefully managed systems.

In short, we have made it our mission to protect, manage, and connect.

Contact us for more information on how we might help you or check out our featured solutions

 

#MoreThanPrint

 

 
 

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11. Source: Verizon. “2019 Data Breach Investigations Report Executive Summary.” May 2019. Web. 9 Jan 2020.   https://enterprise.verizon.com/resources/executivebriefs/2019-dbir-executive-brief.pdf